Hike Number 11, March 23, 2015. San Vicente Mountains.

Distance: 5.34 miles round trip

Elevation Change: 784 feet

Temperature day of hike: 70 degrees

Directions: From Sunset Boulevard, turn North onto Mandeville Canyon Road. After 4.8 miles, turn left onto Garden Lane Road. Parking is easy, and free, and the trailhead is easily found at the base of Garden Lane Road.

Abby: When we woke up on Sunday morning, it was pretty hazy outside, which was welcomed after last weeks 90-degree hike, so we decided to stay inland since clouds would likely obstruct the ocean views. We also needed to ensure we found a trail that was dog friendly, as Sasha’s mom and family dog Buster joined us this week. The San Vicente Mountain offered a trail that was perfect for this day and our guests.

  

Sasha: After cramming my mom, Buster and Abby into my tiny Fiat, we headed west to Mandeville Canyon to begin our hike. Mandeville Canyon is a beautiful and secluded neighborhood in Brentwood that extends deep into the Santa Monica mountains, and its winding roads are popular with mountain bikers and horseback riders. We drovealmost 5 miles up the winding canyon road, avoiding hitting several aggressive mountain bikers braving the single lane road, and found easy street parking on Garden Lane Road. The trailhead should be fairly east to spot as soon as you make the left turn onto Garden Lane Road, but per usual, I was only half paying attention so I ended up at a dead end before tracking back to find the trailhead.

To start the hike, we passed through a gate marked Santa Monica Mountains Conservency Zone Parkland, and began up the Water and Pole Power Road towards the Mandeville Fire Road. After about half a mile, we came to the first intersection, where we stopped to check our directions. We turned right, continuing up the Water and Pole Power Road and quickly gained the majority of the hike’s elevation until we reached the second intersection, the W. Mandeville FireRoad. We checked our directions again and turned right, almost immediately noticing a sign pointing us towards San Vincente Peak, .5 miles away.

Abby: When we made it to this fork, we were surprised at how high up we’d already climbed. The incline was steep, but steady, which I much prefer. As we made the right and continued up, we were surprised at how quiet the trail was. I think we’d only seen three other people at this point. We persisted up the trail, taking in the lush views and a quick steep incline to make our way to the Nike Missile. There were several picnic tables, a bathroom, drinking water fountains to refill if need be and even a payphone in case you wanted to call your parents

   

After checking out the views from the top of the tower, we headed toward Mulholland Drive to make our way back down, closing the loop.  

Sasha: After turning right on the unpaved section of Mulholland Drive, we walked until we passed through a yellow gate (usually closed to car traffic) and past a small parking lot before noticing a second yellow gate to the right. We entered the gate and joined theCanyonback Ridge trail, an easy fire road of rolling hills covered with beautiful wildflowers. After about 20 minutes of walking, I pulled up MapMyHike, as the directions mentioned that the intersection with the Hollyhock Trail was easy to miss. I was happy to see that it was marked on the app, so we continued walking confidently until we found it, and turned right to complete the loop. Once we were on the Hollyhock Trail, we knew we were home free, and descended back towards Mandeville Canyon Road. At the bottom of the trail, we walked through a pretty wooded area and past a few beautiful homes before the trail dumped onto Mandeville Canyon Road. We turned right on Mandeville, where I almost ran back up to the car (parked on Garden Lane), to complete the loop before my phone died.

  

   Pro’s:

  • Mountainous views
  • Not very busy
  • Lush greenery and beautiful, bright flowers
  • Plenty of photo opportunities

Con’s

  • It was a pretty steady climb, not much of a challenge
  • Not much signage, we had to rely on our MapMyHike app often

Tips:

  • Have directions with you, as it’s not clearly marked
  • Even on hazy days, wear sunscreen. There isn’t a lot of shade

Holy Shit View Factor: 4/10. The greenery and lush flowers are beautiful, but you’re mostly looking at the Valley.

How Good Your Ass Will Look Afterwards: 4/10 It was a climb, but being that it was slow and steady, it wasn’t much of a workout.

Post hike grub spot: We drove back to Beverly Hills for a quick snack at Oliverio at the Avalon Hotel. We were seated right away in a cabana by the pool, and had a yogurt parfait and a kale Caesar salad. They also offered $15 bottomless mimosas until 4pm. It wasn’t too busy, so the service was great.  

Tracking the hike: We used MapMyHike to track, but also relied on tips from Hikespeak.